Bratislava, 1 January 2019 – “The Slovak 2019 OSCE Chairmanship aims to be ambitious in promoting dialogue, trust and stability in the OSCE area, and in supporting the good functioning of the organization. But we also have to be realistic: challenges and complexities are rife. Any further deterioration in the safety and lives of people in our societies is unjustifiable,” said today Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák as he assumed the post of Chairperson-in-Office of the regional security organization.
The Slovak Chairmanship will focus on three areas for action in 2019: preventing, mediating and mitigating conflict while focusing on the people it affects; providing for a safer future; and promoting effective multilateralism.
Preventing and mitigating conflict
Slovakia will prioritize efforts to prevent new conflicts from breaking out, while mitigating the humanitarian consequences of existing ones.
“The ongoing crisis in and around Ukraine is one of the most critical issues for our common security,” said Chairperson-in-Office Lajčák. “Slovakia will actively engage in all efforts to reduce tensions, build trust and facilitate dialogue. During our Chairmanship, we will work towards much-needed improvements in the living conditions of the affected population through targeted projects. We will support the full implementation of existing commitments, including those to fully respect the ceasefire and withdraw heavy weapons. Ensuring safe and unimpeded access for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission is essential.“
“Slovakia also intends to make best use of the unique expertise of the OSCE’s institutions, executive structures, as well as its field operations, to promote democratic governance and the rule of law, improve resilience to security challenges, promote sustainable policy responses and support reforms when requested.”
Providing for a safer future
Regarding Slovakia’s second priority, Lajčák stressed that “rapid technological change, digitalization and innovation offer vast opportunities, but can also pose challenges. To provide a secure future for all, we must ramp up our efforts to engage with youth; strengthen tolerance and non-discrimination; use the OSCE toolbox to prevent radicalization and violent extremism leading to terrorism; promote sustainable development; and manage enhanced connectivity and cyber security.”
“During its Chairmanship, Slovakia will promote meaningful and open dialogue among states as well as with non-state actors. Effective multilateralism strengthens trust in institutions and improves security for all,” stressed the new Chairperson-in-Office. A defender of multilateralism, he said that Slovakia will support the development of the OSCE's strategic partnerships with international organizations.
In the lead-up to 2019 already, Slovakia advocated for a strategic approach to prioritizing and ensuring adequate funding for OSCE activities. “We must ensure that the OSCE’s tools and platforms are adaptable to our rapidly changing security environment. This requires more substantial co-operation and a commitment to providing the OSCE with adequate human and financial resources,” Lajčák insisted.
“Overall, Slovakia will dedicate its Chairmanship to bringing the OSCE closer to the people it is working for. We are determined to promote gender mainstreaming throughout the OSCE’s work. And we aim to improve people's safety and security” Lajčák concluded.
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák will present Slovakia’s priorities to the OSCE Permanent Council on 10 January in Vienna.